Japan’s tallest mountain, Mount Fuji, is the most iconic landmark in the land of the rising sun. Standing at an astounding 3,776 m above sea level, this breathtaking monument has inspired countless artworks, attracted thousands of climbers to its summit every year, and drawn tens of thousands of more visitors to various locations around Japan to witness its beauty.
To say that the first time you see Mount Fuji will be magical is an understatement. There’s nothing quite like witnessing the beauty of Mount Fuji for the first time – it will literally take your breath away. Its snow-capped tip slowly gives way to an almost symmetrical mountainside that is so enormous, you have to see it to believe it.
Being such an immense size, trying to find a spot to actually view the entire mountain will take some special navigating. Don’t worry, though, as we’ve curated the top 5 spots that you can visit to try and get a glimpse of it. Note that during peak season, you’ll likely be fighting with other hopeful viewers for a good spot!
1. Chureito Pagoda of Aruka Sengen Shrine
There’s no better way to view the iconic Mount Fuji than from the iconic Chureito Pagoda. You may have seen the image of the vermillion red pagoda before the majestic mountain, even if you haven’t travelled to Japan. That’s because this particular viewpoint and shot are so popular, it’s quite the screensaver for people across the world!
Chureito Pagoda is definitely one of the most popular spots to view Mount Fuji. During peak season, when cherry blossoms have fully bloomed, creating a stunning pink frame around the pagoda and the mountain, you just can’t get a better view than that anywhere else.
However, things to note here are that because it’s such a wonderful view, it is almost always teeming with tourists also anticipating the perfect photo. Also, and this applies to most locations, a view of Mount Fuji will depend entirely on the weather. With this location being further up, it’s quite susceptible to cloudy views.
Our tip is to try and get there super early before the crowds. Not only do you increase your chances of avoiding the midday clouds and harsh sunlight, but you might be able to squeeze in some peace and quiet before the hordes.
2. North-Eastern Shore of Lake Kawaguchiko
If you ask around, people will say that, on a good day, any of the Fuji Five Lakes will give you incredible opportunities to witness and capture Mount Fuji. However, Lake Kawaguchiko is the most accessible of the lakes, and nothing beats the view of the enormous mountain from its north-eastern front.
Because of its accessibility, you’ll find that the majority of the hotels around the area are located on this lakeside, with prices for rooms with a Mount Fuji view relatively astronomical! However, we’re inclined to say it’s worth it, as the view itself is priceless.
If you’re not keen to pay hundreds of dollars for a room though, you can make your own way to the north-eastern shore towards the Kawaguchiko Music Forest.
During spring time, the view of the blooming cherry blossoms with Mount Fuji in the background is simply incredible. Similarly, during the autumn koyo season, the framing of the bright burnt colors against the lake and mountain is simply breathtaking.
3. Lake Ashi
Lake Ashi is located in Hakone, a bit further away than most would assume for a place to see Mount Fuji. However, its distance means that you’ll be able to view the ginormous mountain in all its glory.
Moto-Hakone, at the southern shore of Lake Ashi, is a particularly exceptional viewpoint to see Mount Fuji. If you’ve ever wanted to get a quintessential capture of Mount Fuji, then this is the place to get it. On a nice and clear day, you’ll be able to witness Fuji-San in the background, with a foreground of lush green trees, the azure blue Lake Ashi, and the bright orange lakeside torii gate of Hakone Shrine – the perfect portrait.
Hakone is also a popular option due to the fact that if the weather doesn’t work in your favor and you don’t get a view of Mount Fuji (sad, but unfortunately it happens!), then there are plenty of other activities to do.
Explore the museums, go on a cruise across the lake, or even visit an onsen – Hakone is an onsen town, after all!
4. Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway
The Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway is a 460m cable car that takes you up to an observation deck near the summit of Mt. Tenjo. Here you’ll be able to see panoramic views of Lake Kawaguchiko below as well as spectacular views of Mount Fuji.
Most people tend to take a round trip up and down the ropeway. However, if you’re a bit of an adventurer, you can also opt to take the cable car up and hike the forested mountain slope down, which will take 30 minutes.
If you’re looking for an even bigger adventure, you can continue up from the observation deck to a small shrine and then further to the top of Mt. Mitsutoge.
5. Tokyo Skytree
For those who absolutely don’t have the time to leave Tokyo but still want to witness the incredible beauty of Mt. Fuji, you’re in luck! You’ll still be able to witness stunning views of the city and the mountain in the background from the Tokyo Skytree observation deck on a nice clear day.
Famous for being one of the tallest buildings in the entire world, Tokyo Skytree boasts a magnificent height of 634m. Despite being more than 100km away from Mount Fuji, this incredible height means that you can actually see the mountain from the deck (a testament to just how big and majestic Mount Fuji really is), but only on a day of good weather.
Tokyo Skytree also holds small exhibitions throughout the year, has an onsite cafe, and even boasts some shops that sell premium limited-edition goods and souvenirs.
If you’re looking for some safe spots to capture the beauty of Mount Fuji, check out the top five that we’ve just listed.
To make the most of your experience, we would recommend visiting during winter, as January and February are the months with the clearest skies. Avoid visiting in peak summer as you will encounter many hazy days that will, unfortunately, obscure all views of Mount Fuji.
Additionally, as with most activities, try and set the alarm a little early, you won’t regret it!